Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (1932 – 2009)

Via Huffington Post:

Legendary Senator Ted Kennedy has died at age 77, losing his battle to brain cancer.

In May 2008 doctors diagnosed Kennedy, one of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history, with a malignant brain tumor.

Here is the statement from the Kennedy family:

"Edward M. Kennedy - the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply - died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port," the statement said. "We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him."

(From the New York Times...)

Mr. Kennedy was the last surviving brother of a generation of Kennedys that dominated American politics in the 1960s and that came to embody glamour, political idealism and untimely death. The Kennedy mystique — some call it the Kennedy myth — has held the imagination of the world for decades and came to rest on the sometimes too-narrow shoulders of the brother known as Teddy.

He electrified the opening night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver last August with an unscheduled appearance and a speech that had delegates on their feet. Many were in tears.

Mr. Kennedy, who served 46 years as the most well-known Democrat in the Senate, longer than all but two other senators, was the only one of those brothers to die after reaching old age. President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were felled by assassins’ bullets in their 40s. The eldest brother, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., died in 1944 at the age of 29 while on a risky World War II bombing mission.

Mr. Kennedy spent much of last year in treatment and recuperation, broken by occasional public appearances and a dramatic return to the Capitol last summer to cast a decisive vote on a Medicare bill.

Ok... now there's ANOTHER ONE?!?

FIRST we had Paul the mobile phone salesmen Opera Singer from Wales..

THEN of course Susan Boyle brought Britain to its feet...

and NOW we have 27 year old Danyl Johnson, a school teacher from Reading...

I mean COME ON! What are they putting in the water over there in the UK!? And can American Idiot...er.. I mean, "Idol" get some???


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Some Words from My Bishop...

The 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted on Friday to open the ministry of the church to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in committed relationships.

The actions change the church's policy, which previously allowed people who are gay and lesbian into the ordained ministry only if they remained celibate. Throughout the assembly, which opened Aug. 17, the more than 1,000 voting members have debated issues of human sexuality. On Wednesday they adopted a social statement on the subject as a teaching tool and policy guide for the denomination.

After the vote had been counted. The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Mark Hanson spoke to the assembled delegates as the "Pastor of our Church". (Scroll down to the third video...)

The earlier in the week, the assembly adopted a new "Social Statement" on Human Sexuality. The document recognizes the ministries of congregations which conduct blessings of same gender relationships and same gender marriages where such marriages are legal. The social statement was clear to state that the ELCA is tolerant of differences both in scriptural interpretation and practice.

The statement needed at 2/3 majority vote to pass, and was adopted by exactly two-thirds. I am still wading through the various documents that have come out of this assembly and will blog more about it after I have had the chance to read and then re-read both the statement and the new ministry policies.

So yes, I do have things to say about all this, but not just yet.

Stay Tuned...

Friday, August 21, 2009

What Little Difference a Year Makes...

It's not often that I get to almost word for word recycle an old blog post. Apparently today is the day I can.

It was exactly one year ago, that on this very patch of cyberspace I vented my frustration with then Candidate Obama's inability to grasp what he was up against in terms of the Republican attack machine. It seems I was not the only one at that time expressing real concern that then Senator Obama didn't have what it took to win the fight. He seemed to be under this fantasy impression that somehow Republicans wanted to have a decent honest campaign about issues and the insane attacks on his character, citizenship and patriotism were merely "disappointing".

So now we flash forward exactly one year, and I have the same urge to bang my head against the keyboard and shout at the television; "HELLO!? Is ANYBODY IN CHARGE OVER THERE AT THE WHITE HOUSE?!"

So here, slightly edited for 2009, is my blog post from August 20th 2008. Updates are in italics.
I have been watching the game of political tether ball that the Congressional Republicans have been playing with you for the last month. What I have seen is disturbingly familiar.

The days and weeks following your incredible inaugural, you had the momentum, the free world had stood up and cheered the hope that America would return to a path of sane, rational global leadership. A hope that now had a face and a name. Yours.

And then, your administration dropped the ball.

You allowed attack after ridiculous attack to go basically unanswered. You allowed a political party of lobbyist's pets to question your ethics. You allowed people who have voted consistently against supporting the men and women of our military, to question your commitment to the troops. You allowed those who employ lobbyists for foreign nations to question your love of country. You allowed pundits who think that having over 40,000,000 Americans without health insurance isn't a real problem to cast doubt on the need to address the problem., In the past few weeks, you allowed an industry led by billionaires to say that you were elitist and out of touch with the needs of working families.

In response? You mumbled tepid statements of disapproval of "old style politics." You frowned at the camera and said how you hope you can achieve bi-partisanship. I have news for you. The Republican Party is not interested in working with you on anything, and at some point, unless you are happy with the idea of watching the 2012 Inaugural from the bleachers, you are going to have to accept that.

I feel like screaming at you. "HAVE YOU TALKED TO JIMMY CARTER OR AL GORE LATELY???" Yes, playing defense will make you feel very noble and allow you to say how you are leading a "new kind of Administration." Sorry but there is nothing new about losing. Your Administration seems to be heading down a frighteningly similar path as those in 1977 and 1997.

I hate to break this to you but there is a truth to your Presidency that you seem to be unable to grasp, so let me spell it out for you:

The Republicans will say anything and stop at nothing to win.

They will lie, they will cheat, and they will steal. They will say your health care reform ideas are a plot to kill old people, and they will criticize you for every thing you do, then turn around and criticize you for everything you don't do.

GOP Surrogates will spew the most insane nonsense about you with impunity on Fox News, which will then be repeated in the rest of the media as "covering the debate". You CANNOT play defense. You will LOSE.

Not only that - you have yet to get your OWN house in order. This lunacy of trying to appease the GOP in hopes that they will like you has to stop. You WON the election, will you please ACT like it! The era of the "permanent GOP Majority" is OVER. The time has come for you to say to every Blue Dog Democrat who is still whining about the need for "bi-partisanship" a simple question. "Why do you want to help right wing ideologues at the expense of the American People?"

You need to state in clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "If you oppose a public option for health care, you clearly think poor people who can't afford insurance should die."

You need to state clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "If you believe our economic and national security, and the lives of thousands of uninsured Americans should be sacrificed for Health Care industry profits, then by all means vote against a public option."

You need to state in clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "If you believe members of congress have has a greater right to affordable health care than the citizens who elected them , then by all means support the GOP."

You need to state in clear terms the choice in 2009 is this; "The Republican party has no plan to repair any of the damage done to our economy, national security, global standing or environment by their own hands. The GOP's only plan is to continue doing more damage. The Republican Party can't offer America anything to vote FOR, they can only try desperately to scare enough of us to vote against anything different."

You must be willing to stand up and say out loud that the GOP has nothing to offer this nation but exactly what we have had the last time they were in charge. Economic disaster, loss of American lives in a health care crisis with no end, and a philosophy of Government that sees helping its own people at best, as a nuisance, and at worst, a threat to its power.

Unless you are willing forcefully articulate the choice between your administration and the insane nonsense of those who want you to lose. A choice that is, in fact crystal clear. You will allow the GOP to once again cloud the issues of the day with mud, flung without conscience or restraint. The time has come to stop lying to yourself by thinking that deep down the Republicans want the same things as you do.

They don't. They want you to lose, that's it.

The time has come to call liars what they are. Time has come to call cowards what they are. The time Mr. President, has come for you to stand up and say you are a better man, a better leader and your vision is far better for this nation.

Please President Obama, stop being the tethered ball on the GOP playground

Meanwhile back here in 2009:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A More Informed View of U.K's National Health Service

National Public Radio takes a look at the FACTS about Britain's NHS that most American Media is too lazy to report on:


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A few tibits off the "Internets"

Paul Krugman in Today's New York Times....

"And just as an illustration: a number of people have pointed this out, but here’s the latest in the “Obama’s health reform will kill people” news: Investor’s Business Daily — which poses as a reputable source of financial information — opines that

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

That would be Stephen Hawking, British professor, who was born in the UK and has lived there for his whole life."

(Hat tip to John over at Americablog for this one...brilliant!)

"Something that's been flying around the Internet - I couldn't figure out who the actual author is.

I am an American Conservative Sh*thead:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

And then I log on to the internet -- which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration -- and post on Freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right."


Brilliant. Also, let's not forget the "protesters" at town hall meetings who get their health care paid for by MEDICARE saying they don't want "Government Run Health Care"...

Monday, August 10, 2009

The sad pathetic opportunisitc insanity that is... Sarah Palin

It seems like all I do as of late is post Keith Olbermann's incredible, cogent and brilliant special comments. Well the reason for that should be clear. This is a must see...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Tonights Incredible "Special Comment"

Tonight on MSNBC's "Countdown":

The Truth... plain and simple. Thank you Mr. Olbermann.